Sunday, May 1, 2016


seder table
5:30 erev pesach
My older boys were born right around Pesach. 3 yo was born three weeks before Pesach, and the baby (who just turned one), was born a week after Pesach, which, this year, fell out on Pesach. My line used to be that Pesach is my favorite holiday. I like the challenges of new cooking, I look forward to kids' birthdays and recalling each crazy year, I like many days of Yom Tov when I can change the routine and sit down instead of feeling that I need to accomplish something or other. Usually, I do have a bit of a pre-Pesach freak-out, but it all comes together by Yom Tov, when the kitchen is turned over, the house is chametz-free, and all grocery store runs have been completed. We do our own seder since there is always a small child who needs to go to sleep before we ever start, and I fret about making it meaningful, yet somebody always comes up with some insight out of the left field, making the Yom Tov enjoyable.

seder table
6:30 erev pesach
Kids have to eat
This year, Pesach was just not coming together. I have a Pesach kitchen in this house, precisely because I always make Pesach, but it was still not working out. The bathroom next to the Pesach kitchen had to be repaired. Despite having a full year, the project was completed just three weeks before Pesach. I tried getting an early start on baking by making meringues which I adore, but they flopped. And I could not get enough motivation/anxiety to clean out chametz. Did I mention that we hold by not selling chametz, so we have to actually remove it? Days were ticking off, time was getting close, and I was still in a funk.

Then it dawned on me: what's harder than having a Pesach baby? Trying to make Pesach with a 1 year old! She was doing her part to keep things interesting. She kept throwing things out of her high chair, and spreading those Cheerios everywhere. Besides, a baby of this age needs to be constantly watched. She does not sleep nearly as much as a newborn, and she does not yet have any common sense, but she is mobile and active. I did enclose the living room as a space where she could be contained, but she is only happy in there for so long before starting to cry. So, out of 13 years that I have made Pesach, I was heavily pregnant or with a newborn for 4, and with an acitve one year old for 5. That's nine years of challenges. No wonder I don't feel so gung-ho about Pesach any more.

seder table
7:30 erev pesach
I did pull myself together, invited people over for the meals of the last days, and cooked and served for those meals. The company was pleasant, and it did feel like Yom Tov.

As for the seder prep, I pulled out my collection of Hagadahs, but the boys were most fascinated with The Exodus You Almost Passed Over by Rabbi Forhman. They both read it, and more than once. 10 yo kept bringing it to the table, reading out loud and discussing various points.3 yo stayed up for the seder, saw my husband put on his kittel and asked: "Why are you doing that?" "Thank you for fulfilling my obligation, So you could ask." He was not amused, but he was explained more about coming out of Egypt. And he even recited a nice part of Ma Nishtana. I know he was taught it in school, but I also have a Pesach CD that he kept asking me to put in, which contains it.

10 yo showed brotherly love
by putting up with 3 yo
messing up his experiment
(you need someone
of similar height for it to work)
at the science museum
On Chol HaMoed, I took kids places, hoping to rally just a bit. On Monday we went to the Museum of Natural History.

Kings of the rock at Noah's Ark
On Tuesday we visited an animal sanctuary with another homeschooling  family. The kids all had someone their own age to interact with, so the boys were able to go at their pace, and I could keep up with the littles.

Wednesday was the last day of coop classes followed by park day. I saw the boys' presentation from Lego Robotics class and missed the Bridges class one due to the littles being in toddler room. We brought out miracle bars to share. 12 walked around, advertising how good they are and sharing his insights about Pesach. I thought we will leave early enough for the babies to nap at home, but they both could not sleep. So, on the spur of the moment, I grabbed the willing kids and went to Botanical Gardens to sneak a peek at Chihuly exhibition. Our membership was running out and it did not officially open till after Pesach, but the glass was already installed. The kids loved running around finding the artwork: "There is a Chihuly!" And Thursday I went to taeknowdo with the boys followed by a cooking marathon for the last days.
Boys are presenting their robot

Now Yom Tov is over, the kitchen is back to chametz, laundry is churning from mounds of dirty into mounds of clean, and we bought our chametz. I am looking forward to Pesach when the youngest is 3. In the meanwhile, I will keep on trying to do what I can, and ignore the over-optimistic accounts of how easy it is to make Pesach.

Chihuly in the Botanical Garden

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